Hey, you learn something new every day! Or at least, in the case of me and my uterus, every month.

Here are the most important lessons I have learned while getting to, um, grips with tampons…

1. Don’t use tampons for the first time when you’re in a hurry

1) giphy-1

Puberty arrived for me when I turned 12, right at the end of the summer holidays. I was the youngest in my class, and when I returned to school for the autumn term, it seemed that everyone was an old hand at this period lark whereas I was still very much a novice. So when I felt that familiar tickle in my abdomen during Double French, a month after I got my first period, I wasn’t prepared with sanitary towels, and had to scuttle off to the loos clutching a tampon my friend gave me instead.

I had never used a tampon – only pads – but I found myself shivering in the freezing Victorian toilet, looking at this weird cotton pen-like thing, thinking “well, how hard can it be?”

Thirty seconds later I discovered exactly how hard when (and I swear this is true), not being able to see what I was doing – or even knowing what it was supposed to feel like – almost inserted the tampon into my bottom.

I went back to class with a rolled-up wad of loo paper in my knickers instead, and a face red with embarrassment. Also I limped a bit.

2.  Always read the instructions

2) giphy-3

Even though I’d studied the diagrams of the reproductive system at school, I still sort of thought that the vagina was a straightforward hole-tunnel affair, and that putting a tampon in would be like popping a cork in a bottle.

But, as I stood there with one foot on the toilet seat and my tongue poking out of my mouth in concentration, I was really glad I’d taken the time to unfold the gigantic instruction sheet and pore over it like an Ikea instruction manual. Otherwise I might not have realised that you need to angle the tampon towards the small of my back, or to consciously relax, and I might have ended up with a tampon in the bum again.

3. Don’t get frustrated if it’s not comfortable

3) Brave-Frustrated

Sometimes your vagina isn’t lubricated (slippy) enough and the tampon feels too rough. Sometimes you haven’t put it in far enough and it leaves a weird, heavy weight inside you. Sometimes the string gets squashed against your flesh. Sometimes the stars just aren’t aligned right.

Don’t worry that you’re not doing it right, or that something scary is up – just take it out (slowly!), relax, and try again later.

4. Always match the tampon to your flow

4) giphy-9

Sometimes when you go to the dentist for a procedure they’ll ask you to take a mild painkiller beforehand, in case you need pain relief later. Do not take this approach with tampons – it doesn’t matter if your flow starts off light and then gets heavier, always use the lightest possible option for your type of flow – otherwise it can feel uncomfortable until you start producing a heavier menses, and puts you at risk of toxic shock syndrome.

Also, it’s no fun walking around with a grimace on your face all day. No fun at all.

5. Don’t panic if it gets stuck!

5)giphy-12

Ok, there have been times when I’ve gone to pull the string out and nothing’s happened. It’s like there’s a team of vagina-gnomes in there holding fast to the other end, just to mess with me.

Whenever this happens, images start flashing through my mind – me, going ashen-faced to the hospital A&E; me in stirrups while a team of doctors point between my legs and laugh; me, in the Guinness Book of Records as The Woman Who Had a Tampon Inside Her Her Entire Life.

Then I take a few deep breaths and remind myself that my vagina is basically a big muscle, and sometimes muscles just… contract. Sooner or later I relax, and then the tampon comes out.

6. Always take more than you need

6) giphy-32

My best friend is incredibly smooth with her period. She doesn’t get period pains and can switch her tampon quicker than I can blink. I am not like her.

Often, I am clumsy, which means that when I’m fishing around for a new tampon in my bag, three others fall into the toilet itself. Sometimes the one I insert comes straight out with the applicator when I take my hand away. Occasionally, because I pack my bag early in the morning when I’m still essentially asleep, I find that instead of a tampon, I have brought a banana.

My point is: always take extra tampons, because you might be an idiot like me.

7. There’s no shame in a pad

giphy-14

After all is said and done, tampons aren’t for everyone, and for a lot of people they don’t fit all situations. Often, at the beginning and ends of my period when my flow is light, I’m not lubricated enough (hiya) to use a tampon. Sometimes, you have bad cramps and your entire lower half feels inflamed and there is nothing you want to do less than introduce a tampon into the mix. Sometimes sanitary pads are simply a better option, so find some that you like and keep a stash around for when tampons don’t quite cut the mustard.

8. Don’t put them in sideways

You probably know this one already. And obviously I did! I mean, I never tried it! That would be stupid! Don’t listen to anyone who says that I did!

Ha ha ha!

Seriously though.

@orbyn

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Manjit Thapp

Next Tuesday!

Just kidding. If only things were that simple.

The truth is, your first period can be a bit like a surprise party. There are clues that something is going on… a few of your friends seem to know something you don’t… maybe your mum is being coy, you have a feeling deep in your stomach that you can’t identify, or you want to stuff your face with cake.

And there are times when you are 100% sure it’s about to happen… only to find no one is actually hiding behind the sofa at all.

Argh.

So if not next Tuesday, when?

The average age for your first period is between 11 and 13 – though some people get their period as young as eight, others will be more like 16. And either way, it’s all totally fine. It just depends on your body and how quickly it develops.

If you find you’re early to the party, don’t worry, it just gives you extra time to get the hang of things. And if you’re running a little behind, that’s not a big deal either. You’ve heard the term ‘fashionably late’, right?

So it’s not a race – it’s a waiting game?

Well, yes. But not everyone likes surprises, and helpfully there are signs to look out for that your period is on its way (no, not a text).

Usually your breasts will begin growing first. Those little bumps that might have formed under your nipples are breast buds, and periods generally show up around two years after those bad boys arrive on the scene

TL;DR? Here’s the important stuff:
  • The average age for your first period is between 11 and 13, but it could be as young as eight or as late as 16.
  • Clues that your period might be on its way include breasts growing, discharge in your pants and body hair – but everyone is different.
  • Starting a little later is no big drama, but you can chat to your GP if you are worried.

And about a year after your boobs begin to grow, you might find that you start producing discharge. This is your body’s way of letting you know that things in your uterus are kicking into gear, and most people find that their periods arrive between six months to a year after this.

During this time you might also notice armpit hair and pubic hair making an appearance – another little clue that periods are incoming. But remember, everybody’s body is different. Did we mention that already?

Is there anyone that can tell me?

You can try a psychic if that’s your thing… but it’s probably easier to talk to your mum (or sister or auntie) about when they got their period, if you can. It’s pretty likely you’ll get your period around the same time she got hers.

And apart from that…

Just try to be patient. If you get to 16 and you haven’t had your first period yet, it might be a good idea to chat to your GP about what might be holding things up. But whether you get your first period at eight or 18, it’s nothing to freak out about.

And like any other surprise party, we say there should probably be cake.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Breasts can be mysterious creatures. Like supporting characters from Alice in Wonderland, one day they can feel tiny, the next they feel huge. One day they look like twins, the next they barely feel like friends. Sometimes they’re like your own personal set of cushions – and sometimes, they hurt.

Curiouser and curiouser.

Why is this happening?

A lot of people find that their boobs are a bit sore, achy or tender in the lead up to their period. It can be a warm-up act before the main event, like the other symptoms of PMS.

While the exact cause is unknown (helpful, science) it’s thought be due to the changing levels of your hormones at that point in your cycle. Just before your period, your progesterone production peaks and your breast lobules (milk ducts, although ‘lobules’ is much more fun to say) might expand. As they swell, your nerves may have to stretch themselves a bit longer than normal, which could make your breasts feel a little on the tender side.

If you haven’t started your period yet, don’t panic if you have a tingling sensation or an aching in your chest, this is probably just your breast buds developing. Woo-hoo!

How long will it last?

Most women find that their breasts start feeling a little sore one to three days before their period starts, and generally go back to normal by the time they finish riding the crimson wave.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • Breathe, it’s actually super common. More common than perfectly symmetrical breasts, in fact.
  • During puberty, it’s likely that one will develop faster than the other. They’ll probably continue to grow at different speeds throughout your teenage years, and most adult women still have one that is bigger than the other.
  • This shouldn’t affect your life in any way other than making bras shopping a bit more of a puzzle. But always buy the size that fits your bigger side, as a general rule of thumb. Or boob.

Is there anything I can do to ease the ache?

Some people find that cutting back on salt, sugar, caffeine and dairy helps, so you could give that a go if your boobs are being a real pain in the… er, chest. Comfort-wise, you may find that wearing a good supportive bra, such as a sports bra, helps to minimise the aching, and it will stop things jiggling about any more than is strictly necessary.

Lots of women say that regular exercise helps to fight their menstrual aches and pains. If you find running is a sore-boob nightmare (bounce factor), why not try cycling or walking? After all, you’re already wearing a sports bra.

If your boobs are super painful and playing on your mind, don’t panic. But do step away from Google. Over-the-counter painkillers might help (ask an adult and always follow the packet instructions), or just try giving your boobs a few days while your period finishes.

If they’re still feeling really sore, or if you just want to check what’s what, maybe head to your GP for a chat.

So I’m not dying?

Almost definitely not. You’re just going through the rabbit-hole of puberty. But hey, at least there’s cake.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Hailey Hamilton

Ok, everyone knows your period is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a perfectly natural – if sometimes irritating – part of life.

However, as natural and wonderful and empowering as your period might be, very few of us want to bellow “HIYA I’M MENSTRUATING” at our friends when we’re walking down the road. So in case you find them useful, we asked 38 women for their favourite period euphemisms. You are welcome.

1. Aunt Flo

2. Surfing the crimson wave

3. Ladies’ week

4. Mr P

5. Nature’s mess

6. Menzies

7. Josie’s visiting – ”My Mum always said Josie’s visiting. Then it became just Josie. Never managed to make friends with any women called Josie – too many associations”

8. On the blob

9. Shark week

10. The moon sickness

11.Me and my friends have long referred to it as our ‘pez’. ‘Can’t go swimming today I’m on my pez’ or sometimes ‘pezza’, or ‘the ol’ pezza’.”

12. A Leona situation (ie. bleeding love)

13. Happy-fun-lady-time!

14. “I liked it when Tina Fey referred to it as ‘Aunt Blood'”

15. Having the painters in

16. Falling to the communists

17. Pez dispenser

18. “At my school girls say they’re ‘flying’. Because of the wraparound wings.”

19. Molly has come to visit

20. “My four-year-old sister calls it ‘nappy week'”

21. Rag week

22. Code red

23. Arsenal are playing at home

24. “My boyfriend and I refer to it as ‘my curse’ as a tongue-in-cheek reference to what men called it in the olden days”

25. The Red Sea is flowing

26. “My boyfriend calls it ‘Hanna time’”

27. Lunar flow

28. Ordering ‘l’omelette rouge’

29. Aunt Irma’s in town

30. Bloody Mary

31. Flowers

32. Dracula’s teabag

33. Lucifer’s waterfall

34. Reboot

35. Having your fairies

36. Hiding from Joffrey

37. Bernard

And my absolute, absolute favourite.

38. My Dolmio Day.

Mmm.

@orbyn

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Hailey Hamilton

Tampons. Perfectly practical items, with mysteriously magical properties. No matter how organised, tidy or careful you are, they have a tendency to escape their packaging and turn up under sofa cushions, in forgotten pockets and for me, once, in a vintage gilt lipstick case that had belonged to my Nan.

We can’t stop it from happening, so we must find the beauty and wonder in the unexpected – it’s like Blue Planet, if it all took place in a suburban high street chemist. Here are 11 times when we’ve all wondered “How did that get THERE?”

In the pockets of the slightly musty fleecy anorak you were about to take to the charity shop

You’re pretty sure you weren’t even having periods, last time you wore this. There is a photo of you taken in 2005 where you’ve accessorised it with a Bratz lunchbox and a grazed knee.

In the carrier bag that has been wrapped around another carrier bag that contains the exploding Thermos full of soup that you hoped to eat for lunch.

Urghh, it’s as if the universe wants you to eat sandwiches forever. On the plus side, having a random absorbency aid in the mix probably limited the damage you’ve done to your schoolbag.

In your bra

It’s a good idea in an emergency, and then a terrible idea when you forget until you get ready for bed and discover that the scratchy lace you’ve been moaning all day about is actually pointy cellophane.

In your trainers

Tampons are secret fitness fiends, and have a mysterious ability to roll into the toe of any sports shoe. We think it’s their passive-aggressive way of reminding us that a little exercise will ease the cramps.

In the book you’d put down somewhere and forgotten about

“This book is brilliant! I mustn’t lose my place. I just need a bookmark – but there are no receipts in my pocket. Not even a bit of tissue… oh, wait! I can use this tampon that’s been in my bra!”

In the middle of the floor of the bus

Everyone is looking at it. No-one is going to take responsibility for it. Someone is trying to edge it out of the way with their foot before a naughty boy spots it and yells “IS THAT YOURS? ARE YOU ON YOUR PERIOD?”

In the drawer where your family keeps old keys, screwdriver heads, bits of string and manuals for things that were thrown out three years ago

This drawer never, ever contains what you’re looking for, but it always has at least two tampons at the bottom, no matter how often you take them out and throw them away. It also contains an instruction manual for the tampons.

In the bag you ‘borrowed’ (without asking) from your sister

The only thing to do is to take a dignified breath, compose yourself and say “What do you mean, I stole your bag? I think what actually happened is that you stole my tampons.”

In your pencil case

But only when someone you fancy or are keen to befriend asks to borrow a highlighter. “Help yourself!” you say cheerfully, before spotting it and praying they assume it’s a novelty rubber.

In your wallet

“And will you be paying by cash, card or menstrual hygiene product?”

Under your heel

You’re pottering about in your bedroom, doing some relaxed admin, sighing at your floordrobe and putting socks in the washing basket to be productive. Suddenly there’s a twinge in your ankle and an unwelcome pressure on your sole, as you’re forced to grab the wall so that you don’t fall over. Less than two inches of cotton can, under the right circumstances, floor an entire human being.

This really should be used in a Bond film as a plot device.

@NotRollergirl

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Cartwheels, leotards, THE SPLITS – gymnastics might sound like the most terrifying activity you could ever attempt on your period, but for those of us who love it and don’t want our bodies to hold us back (like, evereverever) you can totally still participate in gym. Yep, even if you’re bleeding.

How, you shriek? What if my pad looks massive and slides out of place, how the heck do I even attach it because I can’t use wings, or what if my tampon string hangs out in the middle of a backbend? The period terror is real.

Well don’t fret, back-flipping dreamers. One of team betty actually used to be a fancy pants gymnast and has a few helpful tips for you…

Double up

If you’re a bit of a pro, you’re probably used to whipping off all your underwear before you slip into your leotard – after all, knickers on show underneath your super glitzy competition outfit is not the one. But if you’re on your period, an extra layer between your vagina and your costume could be the difference between a flawless floor routine and one that’s accessorised with blood. Just try high-cut knickers if you’re worried about flashing and go for a pair that’s the same colour as your leotard.

Prep your pants

If you think you might-maybe-possibly-a-tiny-bit be about to come on your period, prep those knickers! Use those high-cut undies to the max and make sure you stick in a panty liner – even if the chances of you coming on are literally 1%. You can’t be too careful, especially if your feet are going behind your head at any point.

Try tampons

Never tried using tampons before? Well, this might be the perfect time to give them a go. Ask your mum to pick some up from the supermarket or pop to the shops after school then block out some bathroom time to perfect your technique. Chances are you probably won’t nail it the first time, the second, probably even the third time, but if you stay super relaxed you might be able to slide it in just fine. All you need to think about come competition time is tucking in your string and smiling!

You do you

No matter how much you want to compete or take part in your fave weekend club, if you’re not feeling up to it just stay at home! There’s absolutely no shame in looking after yourself and giving your body what it needs to get through your time of the month, whether you’re suffering from cramps, headaches or you’re just tired out. Period.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

We all know that an hour of maths homework feels longer than an hour of hanging out with your friends. It’s science or, er… something. It’s the same phenomenon that can make a day on your period feel like a week. But while it feels like forever, how long is it actually meant to last?

Can this be over already?

When you first start menstruating, there will probably be some variation in how long your period lasts, but it could be anywhere between one day and 10 days. It’s also likely that your period will be a bit irregular, stopping and starting and stopping and starting more times than Ross and Rachel in Friends.

When your cycle gets more regular, you will have a better idea of how long your period will last.

Okay, but what’s the average?

Generally, periods last for anywhere from two to seven days. Once your uterus has stopped jumping up and down with all the excitement of puberty, things should become fairly consistent. So, if you’re one of the #blessed people who have three-day periods, it’s likely they’ll stay that way for a while.

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • When you first start menstruating, there will probably be some variation in how long your period lasts, but it could be anywhere between one day and 10 days.
  • When your cycle gets more regular, you will have a better idea of how long your period will last.
  • Generally, periods last for anywhere from two to seven days.

We know it can feel like your period is going on forever, but that doesn’t mean you’ve drawn the short straw in the uterus lottery. Those who have periods for three days might find they’re more intense, like a 100m sprint. Whereas those who have a full week or more might find that their period is longer but lighter (you know where this is going), like a mile-long jog.

Either way, you’ll find out what’s the usual deal for you. And remember – sometimes 10 is better than one…

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

You may have heard of TSS, but do you know what the heck we’re really talking about? Sure, there are sooo many acronyms to remember but here’s one that shouldn’t be confused with TB (eww, those jabs), TTC (time travel capsule anyone?), or TGIF (surely this one doesn’t need explaining).

TSS is seriously serious though, so it’s time you learnt everything there is to know. Test your super-knowledge by taking the quiz!

So what does TSS stand for?

TSS is known as a “systemic infection.” In a nutshell, this means it affects…

But what even happens?

A super-absorbent tampon that’s left in for a long time, creates the perfect cosy situ for bacteria growth and TSS. Is this true?

One of these is NOT a typical symptom of TSS. Can you spot it?

You can die from TSS. True or false?

If you think that you have TSS, what should you do?

You should never-ever leave a tampon in for longer than…

How many cases of TSS do you reckon are linked to tampon use?

What can reduce the risk of TSS?

Toxic Shock Syndrome is mega serious, but it’s also rare. Fact or fib?

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Hailey Hamilton

Menstrual cups have kind of earned a bad rep as the weird, hippy sister of pads and tampons. The first time I heard about them I thought they were a) gross, b) scary, and c) never going within three feet of my vagina.

But now, I tell anyone who will listen about how amazing they are. Give me the chance and I’ll spend a good half an hour waxing lyrical about how buying a menstrual cup is the best decision I’ve made since I ditched underwired bras.

So, what’s the deal? Are they scary? Can they get stuck? Are they super expensive? Let’s investigate…

What exactly is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a soft, silicone cup that you insert into your vagina when you’re on your period.

How do they work?

Instead of absorbing fluid, like a tampon, menstrual cups collect it. You insert your cup (more on that later), wear it for up to 12 hours, empty it, rinse it out and reinsert. It’s that simple!

What’s so good about them?

1. They’re good for the planet. If you’re a bit of an eco warrior like me, you can stop stressing about adding to landfill because you can reuse the same one for years.

2. They save you money. They usually cost between £20 and £30, which might sound like a lot but considering you only have to buy one, you’ll save some cold hard cash in the long run.

3. They’re convenient. You never have to worry about forgetting to stock your bag with enough tampons for the day again!

4. They last longer. Menstrual cups can hold more fluid than a pad or tampon meaning fewer changes.

5. They don’t dry you out. Everyone who’s ever removed a tampon on the last day of their period knows what I’m talking about…

Which one to choose?

Choosing the right size has a lot to do with how positive your menstrual cup experience will be. Most brands do two main sizes: one for women who’ve given birth and one for those who haven’t. But there are loads of other styles and sizes available too. There are shorter cups, teen cups, compact cups, even cute coloured cups! Do some research first and choose the best one for you.

How do you put them in?

To insert your menstrual cup, start by folding it in on itself to make it smaller (I can hear your sigh of relief…). There are a few folds you can try so it’s worth experimenting a bit. You can take a look at the leaflet that comes with your cup or, if you want a bit more help, check out the videos and diagrams that most menstrual cup brands have on their websites.

Once you’ve mastered the fold, in it goes! You can sit, squat or stand, it’s totally up to you. Just relax and take your time. There are two important things to mention here. 1. A menstrual cup sits lower than a tampon, so that the base is just inside your vagina. 2. As it gently unfolds into place, you might hear a suction sound. DO NOT BE AFRAID LIKE I WAS! This is fine, it just means your cup is nice and secure and leak-free.

How do you take them out?

To remove your menstrual cup, you need to break the seal it creates. You can do that by gently running your finger around the rim of it or by squeezing the bottom of it. Then you simply pull it out. I like to fold mine in on itself a bit to make it easier.

What’s with the stem?

The stem is there to help you remove your cup but generally, manufacturers make them a bit on the long side so that you can trim them to the length you want. If the stem is too long, you might be able to feel it. If it’s poking or annoying you, remove your cup and trim the stem in stages until it feels comfortable. Some people even completely remove theirs; it’s all about personal preference. Reminder: never, never, never trim the stem while your menstrual cup is inside you! Always remove it first.

Do they feel weird?

This was my major worry and I can tell you 100% that they do not feel weird. In fact, once your cup is in the right position, you can’t feel it. Sure, it’s a slightly different inserting/taking out process to get used to but once you’ve got that down, there’s zero drama.

Can they get lost?

Nope! Your vagina isn’t an endless chasm, so your menstrual cup won’t – and can’t – just disappear into the abyss. If it ever goes a little out of reach (this is unlikely) just take a big, calming breath and push down with your muscles.

How long can you leave them in?

Menstrual cups can hold up to three times as much fluid as pads and tampons. They can be left in for up to 12 hours, giving you much longer between changes. When your period is heavier, you might need to empty it earlier but you’ll settle into a rhythm really quickly and figure out how long you can go depending on your flow.

What about public toilets?

Because you can wear them longer, you’re less likely to have to empty it in a public toilet but if you do, it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Although most information says something along the lines of ‘remove, rinse and reinsert’, that’s not always possible. Luckily, you don’t have to rinse it every single time. It’s totally fine to just empty it, give it a wipe and pop it back in.

Pro tips

1. Always wash your hands before you insert or remove your menstrual cup.

2. Take your time the first time you use it. Some people take to them straight away, some don’t. No pressure.

3. Don’t be tempted by a super cheap one from a dodgy website. Proper menstrual cups are safe and certified. Put your health first.

And that’s it. You’re a menstrual cup expert now!

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.

Image: Katie Edmunds

FOMO is hard.

It’s one of those things that your parents won’t always get – especially when it comes to things like piercings, parties and that questionable fashion trend that sweeps through your school overnight – but it’s absolutely a valid feeling. I am totally with you.

What makes an intense case of FOMO even worse though, is when it’s related to something that you’re not even entirely sure about.

Hellooooo, periods.

Or should I say: where the hell are you, period? When you’re sat there twiddling your thumbs waiting for your first period and it feels like all of your friends are well on their way to becoming pros in the menstrual cycle business, you can get a bit… impatient.

Ok, so there’s no definitive formula to knowing when you’ll start your period. The truth is, being a bit on the early side or a tad late to the party is no big deal. Like, at all. We promise.

Admittedly though, I found that being the last of my mates to start mine came with a few specific side effects…

Recognise any of these?

You convince yourself that every bad mood is PMS

PMS is one of those things that gets thrown around in conversation quite a lot. A bit too much if you ask me. But it happens. I actually think I had a better understanding of what PMS was before I fully got the whole bleeding-from-your-vagina thing.

So when it got to the point when my closest girl friends had started their journey down the period path and started justifying every mood swing as PMS, I, of course, decided to follow suit. Because hey, sometimes you just want to be able to relate to your mate’s spontaneous outburst of Hulk-like fury over dropping their last square of Dairy Milk.

You embrace the whole ‘watch and learn’ thing

There are positives to being last, you guys. Honest! The biggest one is that you get to witness IRL the things your friends are experiencing and well, learn from them.

Let’s face it, there are lots of things that we’d rather chat to our carefully-selected friends about instead of an actual grown-up human. And as helpful and well intentioned I’m sure the older women in your life are, sometimes you just want to be able to ask whether or not your BFF managed to get her tampon in on the first try – without fear of an awkward conversation and attempted demonstration from Aunty Alison.

You worry you won’t sync with your mates

This is at the core of that severe case of FOMO we were just talking about earlier.

For right or wrong, my biggest and most irrational worry was that at our next sleepover all of my friends’ periods would have suddenly synced and then someone would make a new group chat without me where they’d all talk about top secret period stuff. Crazy, I know.

Don’t worry, the secret group chat never happened. It’s pretty much impossible for periods (or lack of) to come between a group of girls. It’s one of the things that really unites women, actually.

Turns out none of our cycles ever synced, but we still enjoyed adding period woes to our regular lunchtime moaning session.

You end up being a bit over-prepared

You know that old saying about not tempting fate? Well I was pretty much willing Mother Nature to come at me. I thought that if I carried a few tampons and pads around with me, my body would catch on and decide to play along.

It didn’t.

But on the plus side my friends were always super grateful when they were ever caught off-guard and I had supplies at the ready.

You get caught practicing your cramp face

Ok this one might just be me. But in an attempt to get out of cross-country in the torrential rain, I thought I’d pretend to be on my period. A period that I hadn’t started yet. And in preparation, I thought I’d better practice and get this cramp thing down.

So I spent a few minutes of my lunch testing various versions of my ‘cramp face’. Obviously, someone walked into the loos mid-rehearsal, which was mega awkward.

BUT when I explained that I was having really bad period cramps she shrugged and proceeded to make her way over to a cubicle. ‘Score!’ I thought, ‘I must pursue a career in acting straight away!’ 

Unfortunately my performance wasn’t quite convincing enough to get me out of a lengthy jog in the rain. But still, at least that’s one case of FOMO I didn’t have to worry about.

@JazKopotsha

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: New Girl

You’re totally cool with having periods and don’t let them affect your day-to-day, but somehow – no matter how much you trust your tampons and pads – wearing white when it’s that time of the month turns you into a nervous wreck.

Sure, you want to be like the lady in the adverts who rollerblades in her white jeans while on her period with not a leak in sight, but you know you’re not that girl. Or are you? Here are all the self-doubting thoughts you have when you ‘dare’ to wear white on your period.

1. OK, I’m definitely not wearing white today

You’re in full flow, you’re cramping hard and the last thing you need is to be thinking about visible leaks.

2. But those new jeans in my wardrobe are so comfy and cute…

Surely your tampon won’t let you down… will it?

3. I am a strong, confident woman, capable of knowing when she needs to change her tampon

The jeans are going on and you are going to WORK THEM, girl.

4. I’m just gonna go to the bathroom one last time before I leave the house

Yes, you’ve already changed your tampon twice in an hour, but you can never be too careful.

5. OMG, what if I stand up to get off the bus and there’s a puddle of blood?!

You’ll be a laughing stock and probably owe the bus company more than a year’s pocket money to clean their seat.

6. Why do all these shops not have customer bathrooms?!

You’re 100% gonna leak before you can find a loo. STRESSFUL.

7. Maybe I should just buy another outfit and change into it

You already owe your sister a three-figure sum this month, but surely she’ll understand, because PERIODS.

8. Nothing looks good. NOTHING.

The world is so cruel. Why do you even get periods again?

9. I should probably change my tampon again

Which means you’re going to have to go to a restaurant to find a toilet, which means you might as well eat while you’re there… McDonald’s counts as a restaurant, right?

10. I MADE IT!

You’re home, the red sea has not formed in your underwear, and even your cramps have subsided. Maybe you’ll wear white again tomorrow; it’s not so bad, after all.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Katie Edmunds

Periods, you’ve gotta love them. They have the ability to make us cry, rant and fall asleep for 12 hours straight…sometimes all in the same day. But hands-up if you feel kinda different when you come on? Like your usual chilled self has gone on her holibobs, leaving you with Little Miss Who-The-Heck-Is-This?

But before you think it’s weird to have a whole new ‘period personality’ for few days a month, we’re telling you, it’s normal. You can blame hormones for the randomness.

Curious to find out what your main mood is when you’ve got your period? Take our test below.

1. When raging hunger strikes, what are you nose-diving into to satisfy your cravings?

2. Soooo, you leaked on your school skirt. Do you…

3. Which of these animals do you identify with most when you’re on your period?

4. What does PMS stand for?

5. You’re on the bus journey home, feelin’ all tired. What’s playing in your headphones?

6. You’ve got your period and it’s just you, the sofa and a mountain of munchies. What do you watch?

7. Your brother/sister/annoying friend asks “Are you on your period or something?” How do you reply?

8. What are your go-to period pants?

9. When was the last time you had a really good cry?

10. Finish this sentence. “Tampons and pads…”

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Amber Griffin